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Should You Buy Your Own TV Media Time and Save the Advertising Agency Commission?

Aug 3, 2008
At first, it may seem like a good idea to buy your media time directly when you think about saving the 15% advertising agency commission.

You can simply call a TV station, radio station or other media seller and let the salesperson handle your account. Your account representative can create your advertising for you and handle your media purchase. You may even be able to get your ad created for free!

The truth is that buying your advertising directly is a big mistake.

Buying Media Time:

When you buy media time directly from a TV or radio station, you will be assigned to an account rep who will sell you the media time at a retail end user price. When you purchase your media time from an advertising agency, you may pay a 15% commission to your advertising agency but the agency will buy the media time at a wholesale rate. Not only can an advertising agency save you enough money to pay for the commission, but you may be able to save even more than the cost of the commission.

Media Strategy:

The TV or radio station account rep is not interested in comparing your results with other TV or radio stations. The account rep will only compare your programming with other programming on the same station. You will have to spend a substantial amount of time analyzing your advertising campaign. This is a big reason that advertising agencies are paid a commission.

Likewise, an account rep from an outdoor advertiser will not provide you with competitive quotes or better locations available from other billboard suppliers and your yellow page account rep isn't interested in other yellow page books.

Buying your own media is equivalent to you being your own lawyer. Not only does it require experience, knowledge and services you don't have, but it is much more work than you think, requiring time and money you don't have.

An advertising agency will have access to expensive research and monitoring services such as Nielsen Media Research or TNS to periodically research competitors advertising in your market. An advertising agency will monitor your advertising campaign to make sure that your TV spots are run when they are supposed to. The advertising agency will periodically analyze your results to determine whether scheduling changes need to be made.

Creative:

You can usually get a TV or radio commercial, billboard or yellow page ad created for you for free, but just like everything else in life, you get what you pay for. What you get for free is usually a cookie cutter ad that looks too much like everyone else's ad and doesn't include the aspects import for your particular advertising. An advertisement properly designed by a professional is worth paying for because it will result in a substantially higher response rate, saving you from an unsuccessful advertising campaign.

Before you call the TV station for a quote:

Think long and hard before you call a TV or radio station directly. When you call directly, you will be assigned to a sales representative who will quote you a retail rate. Later, when you call an advertising agency, the media buyer at the advertising agency will call the TV station and speak with a different sales representative who will be quoting a wholesale rate. Now, the TV station has a problem. There are two sales representatives fighting for the same account and one quoted a retail rate, while the other quoted a wholesale rate. Which sales representative do you think will get the account? Once you call the TV station directly, you may later find that you can't use an advertising agency.

Summary:

Using an independent advertising agency will: 1) Save you money on media purchases; 2) Provide you with substantially better performing creative advertising, increasing your response rate and your bottom line; 3) Provide you with media research which is both expensive to obtain and time consuming to analyze; and 4) Provide you with an unbiased media strategy plan which was not created by the tunnel vision of a salesperson working for one company and interested only in a commission.
About the Author
Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is a lawyer who has advertised extensively and does lawyer advertising for lawyers nationwide with 1-800-HURT-911.
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